Sky Sports has announced an extension to its partnership with the EFL, however the record £595m deal has caused disruption amongst Championship clubs.
The extension means that until 2024, Sky Sports will broadcast 138 live league games every season. The broadcaster will also maintain rights every play-offs tie from the Sky Bet Championship, League One and League Two.
Barney Francis, Sky Sports’ managing director, commented: “We’re delighted to finalise our agreement with the EFL and give certainty to its clubs, their fans and our customers for five more years.
“By confirming this deal with the EFL Sky Sports gets even stronger, alongside 128 Premier League games, the home of F1 and English cricket – the rights that matter most to our customers are secure into the next decade.”
Nonetheless, the deal has caused a backlash, with many Championship clubs outlining a belief that the more broadcast sides deserve a greater share of the rights, which are significant to the revenue of Championship clubs.
It is believed that leading the sides, that are pushing a revolt over the share of rights are Derby County, Leeds United and Aston Villa, all three of which are amongst the most well supported in the country.
A statement was issued to Press Association Sport, from several unnamed clubs, emphasising: “Championship clubs are gravely concerned that the EFL Board has announced it has approved a new long-term domestic broadcasting rights deal.
“Nineteen clubs from the league wrote to the EFL asking them not to sign the proposed deal and to engage in meaningful discussions. This was ignored.”
Prior to this statement, EFL interim chair Debbie Jevans outlined: “Concluding these negotiations has indeed been challenging, as is the case when managing a diverse group of stakeholders, and the board took on board the comments and frustrations voiced by a number of clubs and has committed to reviewing the way the league engages with its clubs to ensure that we move forward in a collaborative way in the future.”
The draw of the Championship is unquestionable, just two seasons ago, the Championship was the third most watched league in Europe, only falling behind the English Premier League and the German Bundesliga.